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motive power
motley fool
moto perpetuo

Motive definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

MO'TIVE, a. [See the Noun.] Causing motion; having power to move or tending to move; as a motive argument; motive power.
1. That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. Thus we speak of good motives, and bad motives; strong and weak motives. The motive to continue at rest is ease or satisfaction; the motive to change is uneasiness, or the prospect of good.
2. That which may or ought to incite to action; reason; cause.
3. A mover. [Not in use.]

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: causing or able to cause motion; "a motive force"; "motive power"; "motor energy" [syn: motive, motor]
2: impelling to action; "it may well be that ethical language has primarily a motivative function"- Arthur Pap; "motive pleas"; "motivating arguments" [syn: motivative, motive, motivating] n
1: the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; "we did not understand his motivation"; "he acted with the best of motives" [syn: motivation, motive, need]
2: a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music [syn: motif, motive]
3: a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration [syn: motif, motive]

Merriam Webster's

I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French motif, motive, from motif, adjective, moving, from Medieval Latin motivus, from Latin motus, past participle of mov?re to move Date: 15th century 1. something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act 2. a recurrent phrase or figure that is developed through the course of a musical composition 3. motif motiveless adjective motivelessly adverb motivic adjective Synonyms: motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action. motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act <a motive for the crime>. impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution <buying on impulse>. incentive applies to an external influence (as an expected reward) inciting to action <a bonus was offered as an incentive>. inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another <offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe>. spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor <fear was a spur to action>. goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire <thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency>. II. adjective Etymology: Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French motif, from Medieval Latin motivus Date: 1502 1. moving or tending to move to action 2. of or relating to motion or the causing of motion <motive energy> III. transitive verb (motived; motiving) Date: circa 1650 motivate

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a factor or circumstance that induces a person to act in a particular way. 2 = MOTIF. --adj. 1 tending to initiate movement. 2 concerned with movement. --v.tr. = MOTIVATE. Phrases and idioms: motive power a moving or impelling power, esp. a source of energy used to drive machinery. Derivatives: motiveless adj. motivelessly adv. motivelessness n. motivity n. Etymology: ME f. OF motif (adj. & n.) f. LL motivus (adj.) (as MOVE)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Motive Mo"tive, a. Causing motion; having power to move, or tending to move; as, a motive argument; motive power. ``Motive faculty.'' --Bp. Wilkins. Motive power (Mach.), a natural agent, as water, steam, wind, electricity, etc., used to impart motion to machinery; a motor; a mover.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Motive Mo"tive, n. [F. motif, LL. motivum, from motivus moving, fr. L. movere, motum, to move. See Move.] 1. That which moves; a mover. [Obs.] --Shak. 2. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object. By motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing singly, or many things conjunctively. --J. Edwards. 3. (Mus.) The theme or subject; a leading phrase or passage which is reproduced and varied through the course of a comor a movement; a short figure, or melodic germ, out of which a whole movement is develpoed. See also Leading motive, under Leading. [Written also motivo.] 4. (Fine Arts) That which produces conception, invention, or creation in the mind of the artist in undertaking his subject; the guiding or controlling idea manifested in a work of art, or any part of one. Syn: Incentive; incitement; inducement; reason; spur; stimulus; cause. Usage: Motive, Inducement, Reason. Motive is the word originally used in speaking of that which determines the choice. We call it an inducement when it is attractive in its nature. We call it a reason when it is more immediately addressed to the intellect in the form of argument.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Motive Mo"tive, v. t. To prompt or incite by a motive or motives; to move.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(motives) Your motive for doing something is your reason for doing it. Police have ruled out robbery as a motive for the killing. ...the motives and objectives of British foreign policy... N-COUNT: oft N prep

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. 1. Inducement, incentive, impulse, incitement, stimulus, spur, prompting, influence, reason, ground, consideration, cause, occasion, prime mover, why and wherefore. 2. (Mus.) Theme, subject, melody, motivo.

Moby Thesaurus

activating, active, actuating, aim, ambition, angle, animating, animus, antecedent, argument, aspiration, attraction, basis, burden, case, causal, causative, cause, chapter, compelling, concern, consideration, counsel, desideration, desideratum, design, desire, determinant, determination, device, directive, driving, effect, emotion, end, enticement, essence, feeling, figure, fixed purpose, focus of attention, focus of interest, function, gist, goad, goal, grounds, head, heading, idea, impellent, impelling, impulsive, in motion, incentive, incitement, inducement, inducive, influence, intendment, intent, intention, issue, kinetic, leitmotiv, living issue, lure, main point, matter, matter in hand, meaning, meat, mind, mobile, motif, motile, motivating, motivating force, motivation, motivational, motor, moving, nisus, object, objective, operative, passion, pattern, phrase, plan, point, point at issue, point in question, pressing, problem, prod, project, propellant, propelling, proposal, propulsive, propulsory, prospectus, pulsive, purpose, pushing, question, rationale, reason, resolution, resolve, rubric, sake, shoving, spring, spur, stimulation, stimulus, stirring, striving, study, subject, subject matter, subject of thought, substance, text, theme, thrusting, topic, transitional, traveling, urge, urgent, view, will


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